The name "Beatrice Shakespeare Smith" landed in my head one day and stuck there. In the original (short story) draft, Bertie was younger, maybe twelve or thirteen. In that version, she had my sass-mouth. Then when I expanded the short story into a novel, she aged to seventeen, acquired my coffee habit, and my fondness for crazy hair dye.
How much research went into the creation of ELS?
I didn't research before I started to write it.. I have a BA in Drama, and picked the theater setting specifically so I'd feel comfortable in my writerly surroundings. I'm also more a spot-researcher, as in "this very second, I need a quote from The Tempest" and I leap onto the internet to get what I need. Makes it a bit tricky on days when my wireless is sputtery!
How did you come up with the title?
ELS started life as the aforementioned short story, which was titled "All Her World's A Stage." Then it became the novel we sent out on submission under the title Scrimshaw. Feiwel & Friends worried that was too sailing-centric, though, so I began combing Shakespearean quotes for something grabby... that's when I chanced upon the line from Hamlet, and I knew instantly I wanted to use that, as it ties thematically into Bertie's play about how she came to live at the theater.
When you write, do you always know where you are going, or do your characters lead you in their own directions?
I always start with an outline. Inevitably, the draft wanders away from the outline, because I discover a lot of things as I go. Sometimes the words are just plod, plod, plodding along, and then I spot a shiny idea a few miles away and chase after it.
Which means I end up revising and rewriting. A lot. The earliest version of the novel had the theater closing down, and Bertie to be cast out for that reason, which can give you a sense of just how much things can change during the editing process.
Who’s your favorite character in ELS?
That varies by the day. When I'm having a difficult writing day, the fairies are the easiest (and most fun) to write... their dialogue just pours out of me, and they bring terrific energy to everything they do.
Who would you say are your foremost literary influences, and could you tell us what you are reading right now?
For influences, I'd name Neil Gaiman, Terry Pratchett, Patricia Mckillip, Lewis Carroll, L.M. Montgomery... Right now, I'm in the middle of The Looking Glass Wars by Frank Beddor, which is fabulous.
What can we look forward to reading about Beatrice’s future adventures?
Bertie still has a lot to learn about where she comes from, and who she is. Of course, the fairies will be along for that journey. There will always be dessert and great costuming. (Can't say much more than that without getting plot-spoilery!)
What’s the craziest or funniest thing that has happened to you in promoting ELS?
I love costuming, and, just like Bertie, I usually end up in a corset. Last year at WorldCon (Denver) I got to be XCentricities Corset's unofficial spokesmodel. My favorite was the white dupioni silk that I wore over a vintage kimono.
Is there any additional information that you would like to add?
If you happen to be in the Seattle area, I'll have a reading and signing at the University Bookstory on July 16th at 7 pm. I'll also be hostessing an "Opening Night" Twitter Launch Party, details forthcoming!